Pretend Play Grocery Store

This isn’t the first time we have made a grocery store for pretend play , but it was the first time with both kids and because it was such a hit the 2nd time around I thought I may as well post about what made it so much fun.

I started by clearing out some of our toys from the playroom. In the past I have done this in a bedroom and kitchen. In a bedroom I used the low bed for main aisles/ produce section. In the kitchen I used a shelf on an island. It doesn’t matter what you use it matters if it’s in their line of sight.  My son reached for the grocery items on the windowsill and my daughter went straight for the ones on the shelf ( well after the baby in the cart ).  If you don’t have a shopping cart grab a basket or small bag for your shoppers to put their purchases in.

For food and grocery items just raid your pantry. Last time I used real produce but my son was old enough to tell him not to eat it while playing ( which you could encourage also depending on if you need the fruit or vegetable later for a meal), my daughter is a muncher and I knew if I put any real produce out each and every piece would have little baby girl bites out of them, so I opted for our play food.

For an added layer of learning I placed the produce/ fresh food  in food groups. My son has been interested in this lately and immediately when my daughter would place an egg into the vegetable basket he’d correct her. Play like this is a natural opportunity to talk about nutrition too.

We added an old lap top and a desk for the checkout, one of our own cloth grocery bags and a simple sign on the door – then the kids!

They had a blast!  Especially my daughter who went shopping multiple times yesterday.

This time I added some labels and other print like this weekly specials board for my son to read, but both children benefit from a print rich environment so even if your child is not starting to read don’t skip them.

 Labels are a great way to boost print awareness and help show children how people use reading skills in everything we do not just reading stories.  We were crunched for time so I threw it all together but guess what things don’t need to be perfect for the play to be fantastic! Please remember that, so often I see wonderful beautiful things on pinterest and think that as pretty as those things are for the average parent trying to manage a family and throw together some fun things for their kids those perfect pretty things might not be attainable. Perfect isn’t the goal , play is.

 Now play!

Food Matching Game

by Kim

This post is not intended as a way to try to get sneak math into snack time. If you would like to use it for that reason, by all means go ahead. It would be a fun learning game. I am writing this to try to help make trying new foods fun for you and your child. My biological children love eating healthy foods. They usually request a healthy snack, even when I am offering a convenient (for me) junk food alternative. But fostering children has exposed me to problems I had not experienced before. How to get a child to eat healthy foods? Heck, how to get a child to try anything new?! Here is a fun game we came up with. Grab something that is not transparent or translucent. I like to use clean emptied yogurt containers. Cut up pieces of familiar food and new food into sizes that will fit under the containers. In this instance I used one familiar food that he liked along with two foods he refused to try before. Be sure to place two of each kind on the tray or plate. Cover the food with the containers. Now play the good ‘ole match game. When your child gets a match they get to eat the reward! It really feels like a reward for your child. While this is not guaranteed to work for every food, it sure is fun. You can watch your child get excited about matching. It is fun to see them study the tray and try to match it up. Their minds are focused on the game and not on “having” to try new or healthy foods. Are your kids picky eaters? ___________________________________________________________________________________

Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.